I noticed an article the other day in The Independent about the cancellation of a fireworks display over the Thames because of the beluga whale that is currently swimming there. The protection of animals during the fireworks season is something that has been on my mind for many years. Obviously, the animal lovers amongst us are well aware of the need to protect our companion animals around this time of year from the blitz-like noises that ensue once the celebrations are in full swing. But what about the wildlife???
I feel that British society needs to take a more mature view of the firework season now. Rather than succumbing to our childish whims and rushing out to buy shed loads of very expensive fireworks, many of them far too big and noisy for our tiny gardens (I speak from experience here, having been a firework junkie in the past), should we be making a concerted effort to consider the environment first rather than our petty need to see lights, colours and sparkles just to go “ooh-ahh” for an hour or so?
Do the bangs, whistles and crackles physically built into fireworks really need to be there? I understand sound is part of the thrill, but large displays could provide synthesised effects surely, if they are such a necessity – toned down a little for sensitive ears? Are we not an evolved society that understands the full impact of smoky displays for days on end – surely they serve no good for the environment or our lungs? Not to mention scaring the hell out of all manner of wild animals. The other consideration are those people who are actually very afraid or super sensitive to the noise and flashes – this must be two to three weeks of hell for them, with the awful promise of a repeat around new year’s eve.
For all of these reasons, I would ask the question- should residential firework displays be completely banned? In terms of loud noise, it’s not too bad if you know when an organised display is going to take place in your local area as you can prepare, keep the animals in, buy earplugs, plan your own counter attack etc. But the random “bombing” of local neighbourhoods by overzealous homeowners anxious to please themselves and the kids, takes you by surprise, especially when these impromptu displays happen weeks away from the actual celebration dates. I noticed that Paul has recently held a vote on the type of Bonfire night celebrations that are going to be held at the local allotments and one of the options was to have noiseless fireworks. Is this the way forward?
Maybe there should be some kind of compulsory national online register for both residential and organised displays? Everyone would be able to plan adequate care well in advance for their animals and family.
Diwali is another celebration where the evening transforms into a virtual recreation of a war zone. I can safely say that in our area, Diwali eclipses Guy Fawkes night by a long shot, due to the proximity of the town of Southall. As well as the environmental impact. I think about the fortunes spent on the fireworks. The questions I want to ask of the firework industry are – can they be made noiseless? Can they be made smokeless? The questions I want to ask the government are – can we ban the public from setting up their own displays in tiny back gardens? Can we restrict displays to organised events only and ensure the fireworks used are noiseless with minimal smoke output? You’re already doing this with open fires in London – ensuring homeowners only use smokeless fuel and seasoned logs.
I don’t want to appear too critical of this immensely fun time of year – believe me, I have contributed to the pollution and spent many a pretty penny on fireworks – as a child we always enjoyed wonderful fireworks and bonfires at my grandparent house and I truly have golden memories of the first time I was allowed to set off a firework (this was the seventies – we even had handheld fireworks as well as sparklers) but this was sometime ago now – we lived in a different time. We are now aware of our impact on this precious planet aren’t we? . We are evolved aren’t we? Filling our local atmosphere with smoke, unexpected noise until the unsociable hours over a two to three week period is surely a thing of the past? What do you think?
...long term partners.